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This isn't about saying you shouldn't fight for more than you're getting.  This diary is about one overwhelming fact: in an imperfect world, in a Democracy where the opposition is desperately trying to keep you from winning, in a party whose recent history has been dominated by compromise and decline, getting the results you want can be a frustrating and infuriating process.

I wonder, though, if our raw feelings about that, the inferiority complex that's built aren't part of what's making things more difficult.  I wonder if the weight of all those years of being in second place hasn't made us more volatile as a political force, more likely to give up, rather than stick with it for the long term.

To me, politics is a game of numbers, where even the most worthy, most sensible legislation can suffer defeat if the formulations are wrong.  It would be nice not to have to concern ourselves with the sausage grinding particulars of things, to believe that great and good legislation doesn't come out of torturous processes, but that naivete, I would submit, is a dangerous illusion that cannot be indulged.

I'm afraid our situation is that making forward progress is difficult, and it will give you grey hairs.  Just look at the forces arrayed against us.  Why do you think there won't be fights?  How do you think you can just sit there and go, oh, I'll quit because so much is going wrong, or I'm taking my ball and going home because what I wanted wasn't there.

We can't think that small.  For one thing, it makes us easier targets of Republican efforts to discourage us simply by stonewalling things.  If they can defeat us merely by frustrating our initiatives, what do you think they're going to do.  Political change is often an marathon, and endurance race instead of a sprint.  The people who win, often enough, are the people who stick around and fight the exhaustion and frustration long enough to be the folks who are still standing at the end of the day.

Nothing worth doing like this is easy.  It took 40 years from the Stonewall Riots, over two centuries from the foundation of our country for New York to get equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians.  Thomas Jefferson said all men were created equal.  It took over two and one quarter centuries for Barack Obama to demonstrate that in the White House, that phrase held true.

Even so, he still gets shit for being black.

People who mourn the decline of Unions now forget a time when unions were virtually outlawed, when Pinkerton Detectives and even National Guard units were called in to break strikes.  People look at todays robber barons and forget yesteryear's fat cats, and the extreme deprivation that was possible then.

There's no question difficulties, unfair difficulties at that lay ahead of us.  Which is why we ought to be less willing to turn up our nose at getting results.

We're going to have to fight for every inch of progressive advancement we want in the coming years.  Nobody, not the Chamber of Commerce, not the Republican Party in the House, nor the GOP in the Senate, is going to let us have anything for free.  Now we can either resign ourselves to their dominance (which is a different attitude or outcome than we had before, how?) or we can decide that we're going to test their ability to endure, their tolerance for a long term policy war.

Let me tell you a secret here: the Republican voters are just as frustrated with their people as we are with ours.  They can't understand why, after digging in the pile of poop for so long, why they haven't found their pony, especially not their magic market fairy made pony in all that manure.  They've been promised economic miracles for decades, provided they kept the faith , and it's not been forthcoming.

The Tea Party is a sign of the impatience and the worn out ideology of the Republican Party.  It's a symbol of its self-contradiction, a party of populists that does the bidding of the elite without question, a party built on racial tensions and a stark dislike of Democrats and liberals.  It's the party that can't believe a black man could get elected, much less bring Keynesian economic back with him.  It's a party that can't stand the idea that we might win.

So, we have a real fight with them.  We're going to have to pry their deathgrip on power off of the House and Senate, and keep their idiocy away from the White House.

Here's what I'd say: celebrate the small advances.  Don't let the current frustrations or limitations define your politics.  Don't stake your political movement on the willingness of the politicians to carry out your agenda.  They can disappoint you, they can fail.  No, instead, invest in your political agenda because that's what you want, and that's what you've decided you're going to get.  Everything else is just  matter of putting together the means to see policy done your way.

Don't wait for somebody else to motivate you, to inspire you.  Motivate and inspire yourself.  If you really care about the issues, really care about how our government runs, that shouldn't be an issue.  You'll have all the motivation you need to get up and out there, and to do your part.

As for the Democratic Party, the DNC, and all the rest of it?  Make the decision that it belongs to you, and insist on the rights that the owner has.  Decide that this part of ours is going to serve us.  All the rest is the details of how we get practical control over the party we wish to control more extensively.  Accepting the bullshit that it all belongs to special interests and corporations just reinforces that bullshit, because then your first impulses will be to let Caesar have what is Caesar's.

When bad situations become evident, our first impulse shouldn't be to say that the corporations rule the country.  Our first impulse should be to say that we rule this country, and organize our actions and our rhetoric along the lines of reclaiming what is rightfully ours.  Those who stole what rightfully belongs to us, who try to steal our equalilty from us, make virtual subjects of us, cannot and will not be allowed to keep their ill-gotten gains.

We cannot win by allowing despair and short-term disappointment to blunt our will to fight, our support for the overall party.  Sometimes the small victories are what we have to work with.  But if our enemies recognize that each small victory just mean's we're that closer to winning it all, if they know that any setback they deal us won't stop us, then perhaps we'll stop being the folks who are the political wimps, and will start being the folks the political opposition fears.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip: We own the Party, it belongs to us. (15+ / 0-)

    Any other mindset simply cedes our power to the rich and powerful.  

    Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

    by Stephen Daugherty on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 01:38:36 PM PDT

  •  Many liberal activist are narrow focused idealists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    malharden, amk for obama

    who don't look at the big picture when making assesments.   They judge based on the way they feel.  What they care about and how they feel it's being addressed gets far more weight than everything else.  So, when they say Obama sucks they really believe it and they really won't vote for him or support him and will likely actually oppose him.  Until they see the alternative and then they forget about everything but how they feel about the alternative being president.  It happens like clockwork.

    Protect Medicare, Win Everywhere!

    by Anton Bursch on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 02:28:34 PM PDT

    •  And vice versa (0+ / 0-)

      Personally, knee jerkism of any kind is anathema to me.

    •  What a crock of shit. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Liberals fight for liberal ideas and moderates fight for moderate ones.  During the health care debate a moderate position was that health insurance ought a primarily private, for-profit venture.  It was the moderate idealists who threatened to derail the process if they did not get exactly what they want.  Liberals ultimately gave in to the demands of the moderate idealists who were willing to kill the bill if they did not get exactly what they wanted.  For their willingness to compromise to get the job done, liberals have been labeled perfectionists, puritans and idealists.

      Liberals still give President Obama his strongest support.  If he loses them, he loses.

      •  How is my comment a crock of shit? (0+ / 0-)

        I don't disgree with your comment, but I don't see what it has to do with my comment or why you called my comment a crock of shit in your suject line.

        Protect Medicare, Win Everywhere!

        by Anton Bursch on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 04:28:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seriously? (0+ / 0-)
          Many liberal activist are narrow focused idealists who don't look at the big picture when making assesments.

          Bullshit.  Most liberal activist advocate strongly for what they believe in.  Just because they don't jettison their beliefs because some moderate asshat threatens to take his ball and go home if he doesn't get his way, doesn't mean they don't see the big picture.

          So, when they say Obama sucks they really believe it and they really won't vote for him or support him and will likely actually oppose him.

          Bullshit.  As I wrote earlier, President Obama gets his greatest support form liberals.  In the linked poll 90% of liberals approved of the job President Obama was doing, with only 7% disapproving.  That is compared to 73% of moderates approving and 19% disapproving.

          •  note the word 'Many' starting the sentence (0+ / 0-)

            it does not mean 'Most' it means more than a few.  And my comment was about 'more than a few' liberal activists who are narrow focused (again note the word 'focused' does not mean 'minded') idealists.

            is it so terribly inconvenient to read ALL of the words of a sentence?  is it at least worth the effort when reading a sentence to read the FIRST word in the sentence?

            speaking of narrow focus... sheesh

            Protect Medicare, Win Everywhere!

            by Anton Bursch on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 07:07:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Idiocy... (0+ / 0-)

              use use the word "many" to signify a number you cannot identify but which you want to seem large enough to matter.  Many people think that is just a lazy way to make a generalization without having to back it up.

              •  No, you are mistaken about what i want (0+ / 0-)

                What I want is to understand how to deal with fellow liberal activists who obviously want to do good but can at times undermine efforts to do good by attacking the character of the politicians who are attempting to do good.  

                Ussually this happens because the politician isn't doing what the activist wants or is doing it in a way the activist dissaproves of or is doing something the activist dissapprove of.  

                These activists are a minorty within the entire population of liberal activists.  But they are a large enough of a minority that I would refer to them as many rather than few.

                When I started participating in political activism I was very disconcerted by how quickly from hot and cold some activists could turn toward any given politician.  I personally think that this tendency is the reason why these particular political activists are kept from actual power.  Which is dissapointing for me because from a moral stand point they are exactly who I want in power.  

                There is two kinds of political power in this country.  One, is the power of an office.  The other is the power to change hearts and minds.  Most politcialy active people will only ever have the power to change hearts and minds.  Most liberal political activists will only have the power to change hearts and minds.  

                Now, I have to tread carefully as I write this next thing.  I personally think that the ability to charge hearts and minds is undermined if you violate the values of the people whose hearts and minds you are trying to change.  In particular, if you don't have a sense of appreciation, respect, and even some loyalty to the people on your own team then people conclude that you won't have any for them and they won't trust you.

                I want the power to change hearts and minds.  It is the greatest power to change this country and the world.  I don't like working hard to win people over only to have to endure a minority of my own team very loudly and very extremely codemning other people on my team every fucking five minutes.  What I want is some political savy from those people.  Some respect for the work others are doing enough not to stampede over all of it.

                Sometimes, I feel like some liberals are the heroes from action movies.  Inspiring in their passion and bravery.  But why do they have to demolish a fucking city just to catch one bad guy?  I mean, yeah, he killed someone and he stole a lot of money but how many lives are you putting in jeopardy and how much will fixing the damage cost for your crazy car chase through the mall?

                Being considerate would be nice.  Other people are working too.


                Protect Medicare, Win Everywhere!

                by Anton Bursch on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 12:53:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  You (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kj in missouri, Lawrence

    get the world you vote for.

    Peace Shopper- Saving more than pennies :-)

    by Maori on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 02:38:55 PM PDT

  •  More pity party: not a successful strategy for (0+ / 0-)


    •  That's strange. (0+ / 0-)

      I thought I wrote that people should take their political destiny into their hown hands.

      Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

      by Stephen Daugherty on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 08:48:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    Recommended by:
    amk for obama, jan4insight, citizen k

    There. Now I'm a progressive blogger.


    But yah the whole DADDYMAKEITALLBETTERNOWNOWNOW attitude among "true progressives" would be hilarious if it weren't sofa king stupid.

    Kevin dropped his ice cream and blames Obama? He's gone hamsher!

    by punditician on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 04:04:11 PM PDT

  •  That FP piece was a hit piece. End of story. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Hawkjt

    That FP'er's solution ? Obama should speechify. And to reach that stupid conclusion, she had to trash the act itself.

    One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists. So, how did Obama piss you off today ?
    Call the media when they Lie

    by amk for obama on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 04:31:56 PM PDT

    •  As I said in a comment on that FP hit piece - (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amk for obama, Hawkjt, citizen k

      great descriptiong, btw - It's the height of irony, or something, that the Emo Left is continually whining for Obama to use that good ol' bully pulpit. And when he does - that's the kind of crap they dish out.

      KJGray really jumped the shark with that diary - total waste of bandwidth, imo.

      The price of apathy toward public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. ~ Plato

      by jan4insight on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 06:52:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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